GATESVILLE — The Gatesville High School Class of 2014, 190 strong, took their diplomas in front of a hometown crowd that filled McKamie Stadium on Friday.
“The game begins and the crowd is watching,” Valedictorian Sarah Latham told her classmates.
Latham, who played point guard for the Lady Hornets basketball team and competed in the pole vault, said the Gatesville school system prepared the class of 2014 the way coaches prepared athletes for competition.
“Life is a game and we have practiced for 13 years,” she said. “We are prepared.”
Latham quoted actress Sandra Bullock, who recently told graduating seniors in New Orleans to “tune out the negativity.”
After urging the seniors to “do whatever you have a passion for,” Latham concluded her remarks in the spirit of her generation.
“One last thing, let me take a selfie,” she said, turning to snap a photo with her fellow graduates in the background.
“It is time to flip the page and start the next chapter of our lives,” salutatorian Sally McLeod told the class.
Superintendent Stewart Speer, Assistant Superintendent Marsha Worthington and the high school faculty led by Principal John Westbrook were on hand as the graduates stepped forward to receive their diplomas.
Members of the Gatesville school board present were Dr. Stephen Norris, Mary Anne Leib, Lisbeth Appleman, Amy Hays, Deborah Ford and Gerald Poe.
Eighteen members of the GHS chapter of the National Honor Society, including Latham and McLeod, were first in line followed by 172 of their fellow seniors.
The bleachers of McKamie Stadium were full and spectators lined the fence around the track to watch the ceremony. The stadium seating capacity is about 4,000.The Gatesville High School band, directed by Christopher Moix, played the processional and the national anthem.
Special music was provided by senior choir members Natalie Coleman, Jessica Deaver, Bailey Dickie, Laurana Harris, Shawnee Mitchell, Heidi Perkins and Trey Shonkwiler under the direction of Rosemary Whittle.